Detention and transfer of prisoners

The EU aims to facilitate the social rehabilitation of convicted persons by allowing them to serve their sentence in their home country. To this end, convicted prisoners can be transferred back to their EU country of nationality, habitual residence or another EU country with which they have close ties. These transfers are governed by Council framework decision 2008/909/JHA.

The issuing EU country should assess the impact of the transfer on the prisoner's social rehabilitation. Prisoners should not be transferred to countries where detention conditions do not meet minimum standards required by the Council of Europe's European prison rules.

The European Commission published a Handbook on the transfer of sentenced persons and custodial sentences in the European Union (2019/C 403/02) to facilitate and simplify the daily work of designated competent authorities.

Probation and alternative sanctions

The application of the principle of mutual recognition to alternatives to custody and measures facilitating early release is governed by the Council framework decision 2008/947/JHA.

The instrument applies to alternatives to custody and to measures facilitating early release at the post-trial stage, for example an obligation not to enter certain places, to carry out community service or instructions relating to residence or professional activities. The probation decision or other alternative sanction can be executed in another EU country, as long as the person consents.

Alternatives to pre-trial detention (European Supervision Order)

The framework decision 2009/829/JHA deals with the application of the principle of mutual recognition to decisions on supervision measures as an alternative to pre-trial detention. The instrument allows a suspected person to be subject to a supervision measure in their home EU country until the trial takes place in another country, instead of being placed in pre-trial detention in a foreign country.